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An in-depth guide to tackling frizzy hair in the middle of a lockdown

Salons are a distant dream, at least for now. And with no Olaplex and an Insta-worthy blow dry, it’s possible that our hair is facing it’s most trying season. The number one problem is frizzy hair, and it’s here to stay. It could be humidity or heat damage, but dry, unruly hair seems to be a common issue, and those with naturally curly and wavy locks struggle more with how to control frizzy hair. 

What exactly is frizz?

Frizz is the weird, unruly strand of hair that seems to stick out in smaller strands making your hair look wild, almost dry, and uncontrollable. With the shortage of the right products at the moment, no one has the patience to get into an elaborate blow dry, use enormous amounts of hair mousse, spray hairspray, or straighten it every day.

So we put down a guide to good hair in lockdown and ways to tackle frizz and come out with silky, healthy hair. A few basics, a few luxuries, the right products, and definitely, a good oil massage. 

Why is frizzy hair so common?

The main reasons that cause frizzy hair are humidity and excess moisture in the air, along with damaged hair that requires constant care. Curly or wavy hair tends to frizz more easily than oily hair because they tend to be drier and the first sign of moisture makes them frizzy. Damaged hair happens for many reasons – maybe you have over-coloured your hair, you use too many chemicals, apply too much heat or wash it too often.

“The reason why you tend to have dry, frizzy hair is damage and dryness due to chemical treatments, wrong products, lifestyle, and pollution. When your hair is deprived of hydration, hair cuticles rise to absorb moisture from the air causing hair fibres to swell up, making your hair frizzy,” explains Dr Sushant Shetty MD (Skin), head of medical operations, services and engineering, Kaya Limited. Summers can make frizz worse, so it’s imperative to take extra care during these months, even at home.

“Frizz is also caused by over-exposure to chemical treatments, mechanical stress, environmental stress causing enhanced dryness, which leads to unruliness. It is a problem further enhanced in humid climates as the moisture in the air causes the hair cuticles to swell and open, leading to higher non-uniformity,” adds Melissa Hughe, national technical head, Schwarzkopf Professional.

How to tackle frizz? Here are some fool-proof easy ways one can tackle frizz on the daily. 

Give your hair hydration by using a good and correct conditioner 

“A good after-shampoo routine with a good conditioner that suits your hair can really make your hair smooth and healthy. Choose one that has ingredients like glycerin and shea butter,” adds Dr Shetty of Kaya Limited. Always use a conditioner after you shampoo, rough hair is often a result of using conditioners that don’t suit your hair type or not using them at all.

A hair mask works wonders 

A good hair mask with ingredients that help fight frizz is a must during these times. “Look for tags like hydrating or moisturising to choose the ones that can help tackle frizz. Invest in products that promise hydration for dry hair,” adds Dr Shetty of Kaya Limited.

“Masking your hair will ensure that it receives and retains the nutrients it requires. Not only does this hair treatment make your tresses more manageable, but the extra hydration makes your hair smoother. A rich and creamy pre-shampoo hair mask, specially designed to protect, repair, and nourish the scalp from deep within will work wonders,” adds Dr Taruna Yadav, Senior Ayurveda Doctor at Forest Essentials.

The Aveda Smooth Infusions range works with frizzy hair

Masks that contain coconut oil or castor oil work best to give your hair hydration and moisture. A friendly tip: if your hair is too dry, use a hair mask 2-3 times a week instead of your conditioner.

Choose the right shampoo 

“Choosing a shampoo that is sulphate-free and packed with glycerin does help. Glycerin helps hydrate your hair and also forms a protective layer on your hair that avoids it from getting frizzy,” explains Dr Shetty of Kaya Limited. Other ingredients also help with dry, unruly hair. “One can also choose a sulphate-free, moisture-packed shampoo for best results,” adds Sunil Sharma, style director at Jean-Claude Biguine India. Sulfates are a common ingredient in shampoos because they help lather, but that means, they can also strip natural oil, making it dry and frizzy. Sulfate-free shampoos maintain natural oil levels while adding moisture.

Oil your hair once a week

“An ideal Ayurvedic hair oil for dry or colour-treated hair is a must. A relaxing warm head massage, twice a week, for hair that feels lush and nurtured. For extra care, take a few drops of the oil and run it by the ends, for a healthy sheen. You can also think of weekly hair oiling that nourishes the scalp,” advises Dr Yadav at Forest Essentials.

Use a heat protecting serum 

A heat protecting serum should ideally be used after towel-drying your hair. Damage caused by heat also causes frizzy hair; this is for people who blow dry regularly. Using products that help protect your hair from heat and overexposure to humidity does help. “The simplest way to cut down frizz is to use the right hair care products and protect your hair from overexposure of heated tools. Humidity adds to frizz; it becomes important to protect your hair from it as well. Always ensure that your hair is sufficiently hydrated and nourished. It is extremely crucial to use the right products at home,” explains Nitin Manchanda, creative director, Wella Professionals. Try the Wella Professionals EIMI Thermal Image Heat Protection Spray for best results.

A hair turban is a good investment

This new and fun addition to your hair routine, buy a hair turban. It’s available on Amazon and even on Nykaa, and it’s almost like your own towel. “A hair turban can help retain moisture, and it’s great to towel-dry or air-dry hair and then use a dryer. 90 per cent of your hair should be dry before you blow-dry, that’s the rule. Use a diffuser if you have curly hair because it will not let direct heat and forceful air cause frizz,” advises Sunil Sharma, style director at Jean-Claude Biguine India.

There is an art to brushing your hair too. “After washing your hair, it is key to air dry naturally before combing or styling the hair. Brushing through wet hair can cause hair fall,” adds Dr Yadav of Forest Essentials. Nourishing oils like Moroccan Oil Treatment can be used to dry ends while one can spritz the Forest Essentials Bhringraj & Shikakai Hair Thickening Spray through the hair and follow with gentle combing, for volume and smoothness. 

Use the right brushes and tools

Try a Boar bristle brush for good results for your hair. A good brush can indeed tackle frizz; we did talk about the wonders of Olive Garden brushes that come with cutting-edge technology to tackle frizz. One should also use heat tools, if you are using them at all, on a low setting. “The hair iron is a popular tool that most use to keep the frizz at bay. Do remember to couple the iron with a heat protecting product and maintain a temperature of not more than 180 degrees. Prepping the hair with an anti-frizz and anti-humidity product will enhance the anti-frizz effect as well as improve longevity” adds Melissa Hughe, national technical head, Schwarzkopf Professional.

Look out for anti-frizz products 

“Anti-frizz care products contain special ingredients that fill gaps in the hair surface and coat the hair, sealing the cuticles whilst revealing a smooth and shiny uniform hair fibre. Anti- humidity products further protect the hair from humidity. And layering these anti-frizz and anti-humidity products will, therefore, give you the best results,” explains Hughe of Schwarzkopf Professional. Try the Schwarzkopf Professional Osis+ Magic Anti Frizz Shine Serum.

Other tried & tested ways to cut down frizz:

The Oil Reflections range from Wella Professionals also helps smoothen frizzy hair.
  1. Make sure your dry split ends are cut. A good haircut will ensure no split-ends. 
  2. Don’t shampoo several times a week. Every two days is good enough. Apply conditioner and skip shampoo, then rinse it out if you need a wash. 
  3. Coconut oil is best for a hair massage, especially for Indian hair, so use it regularly. 
  4. One can try this trick if you have frizz in small areas. Just use a mascara wand, spray it with hairspray, and smooth out troubled hair. 
  5. A surprising oil that you can use to flatten frizz? Argan oil. 
  6. Sleep on a silk pillowcase. It’s known to make your hair smooth and keeps the hair’s moisture intact.

Note-worthy products to try for Frizzy hair: 

OGX Anti-Frizz Hydrating Kukui Oil, Rs 725

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray, Rs 1,980

Ouai Smooth Conditioner, Rs 2,700

Kevin.Murphy Smooth.Again Anti-Frizz Treatment, Rs 2,475

SOVA Kashmiri Walnut & Violet Flower Anti Frizz Hair Serum, Rs 1,250

TIGI Bed Head Control Freak Frizz Control And Straightener Serum, Rs 1,100

Pictures by: Brands; Representative images: Getty Images

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.